Northwestern University has selected the next investment chief for its $12.2 billion portfolio.
Amy Falls, who has served as Rockefeller University’s chief investment officer since 2011, will take over as CIO at Northwestern this spring, the university announced Friday.
“I am honored and excited to join the Northwestern investment office team and look forward to working with them, the board and my new colleagues to advance the university’s mission,” Falls said in the announcement. “As chief investment officer, I hope to build on Northwestern’s legacy of excellence and promote the growth of the endowment.”
As CIO, Falls will oversee Northwestern’s investment portfolio, which supports university operations including financial aid, faculty positions, research, and athletics. She will report jointly to the investment committee and Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance at Northwestern.
“The role of the chief investment officer is essential to the success of the university at every level,” university president Morton Schapiro said in the announcement. “We have great confidence in Amy’s ability to build the financial strength we need to invest further in our academic community and to carry out every aspect of our mission at a truly world-class level.”
Falls replaces long-time investment chief Will McLean, who left Northwestern in October to become president and CIO at Spider Management, an outsourced-CIO firm born out of the University of Richmond’s endowment office.
McLean had joined Northwestern as CIO in January 2002, after an investment career that included roles at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Duke Endowment in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the announcement on his departure. Over the course of his tenure, the Northwestern endowment grew from about $3.3 billion to $11.1 billion at the end of August, placing it among the largest university endowments in the world.
Upon the August announcement of McLean’s departure, it was widely believed that the chief investment officer job might go to Northwestern managing director Amy Diamond, who had worked in the investment office since 2000. In September, however, Diamond was announced as the next chief investment officer at the University of Southern California.
In October, a Northwestern spokesperson confirmed that the university had hired recruiting firm David Barrett Partners to run the search for its next CIO.
“We are looking for someone who can build upon Will McLean’s strong success at Northwestern and the talented team he has assembled,” the spokesperson told Institutional Investor.
In the announcement Friday, the university said Falls had delivered “top decile performance” in her role as CIO at Rockefeller and previous position as founding chief investment officer of Phillips Academy Andover. According to the statement, Rockefeller generated “the second highest performance in 2020 among university endowments greater than $1 billion.”
“Amy has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading institutions through turbulent financial times,” Johnson said in a statement. “She will continue to build upon our endowment’s successes to ensure financial resources are available in perpetuity for our university community.”
Prior to her role at Phillips Academy, Falls was a managing director at Morgan Stanley. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and is a board member of the Ford Foundation and the Harvard Management Co.